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West-African Networks Declaration at Lome

On June 28th and 29th, West African networks of civil society organizations met at Lomé, Togo, in order to improve dialogue between regional networks and national platforms as well as to discuss the main issues in the region.

On June 28th and 29th, West African networks of civil society organizations met at Lomé, Togo, in order to improve dialogue between regional networks and national platforms as well as to discuss the main issues in the region. The consultation aimed to debate common development strategies, to plan and facilitate the sharing of experiences between organizations, as well as build convergences and strategic development partnerships. This was the third meeting after Zinguincho (Senegal, 2015) and Praia (Cape Verde, 2016), during which the participants analyzed the region’s obstacles and defined the next steps towards creating a converging space.

Below the signatories’ declaration in full:

“West African Networks Declaration at Lome

We, networks of the Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in West Africa which participated in the Regional Consultation for the Strengthening of Dialogue Between West African Regional Networks held from June 28 to 29, 2016 in Lomé (Togo) at the initiative of the Network of National NGO Platforms in West Africa (REPAOC) and with the facilitation of the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI);

1. Aware that WACSOF (West Africa Civil Society Organization Forum) is the common space for interface between the civil society in West Africa and ECOWAS;

2. Recalling that this consultation is the logical continuation of sharing meetings held namely:

- In 2015 in Ziguinchor (Senegal), upon the invitation of POSCAO where regional networks including WAWA, OSCAF, ROPPA, REPAOC and POSCAO initiated an action plan and celebrated the opening of the first ECOWAS Citizen’s House launched on August 1, 2015;

- In 2016 in Praia (Republic of Cabo Verde), upon the invitation of REPAOC, regional networks met to discuss the outlines of this dialogue and prepare the consultation of Lomé. The Praia meeting has given a roadmap with a declaration which highlights the various difficulties confronting networks and the need to find a space of convergence and dialogue;

3. Noting that, despite their dynamism and the quality of their contributions to the development of Community Space, CSOs are facing great institutional, structural, legal, and political challenges that must be addressed through a synergy of efforts and the strengthening of the institutional framework established by ECOWAS through WACSOF;

4. Reaffirming our commitment and determination to implement the international framework on the effectiveness and  contribution of CSOs to development and the eight (8) Istanbul Principles in our region;

5. Declare that WACSOF and its various networks and platforms should be rethought and strengthened to match their mission;

6. Commit ourselves to work together to assist ECOWAS and its institutions for the realization of the 2020 Vision.

7. Urge o ECOWAS to further support WACSOF to arrange as soon as possible the People’s Forum so as to improve its performance and benefit from the effective contribution of all regional networks and the West African civil society in general;

o Member States to effectively implement the Busan Partnership by formalizing an institutional framework for inclusive dialogue with CSOs

8. In addition to issues related to dialogue between regional networks, discussed the sociopolitical situation faced by some countries, including The Gambia and Guinea-Bissau, and marked our deep concern about the resurgence of terrorism and violent extremism in several countries.

9. Congratulate in this regard, ECOWAS for measures taken at the 49th Summit of ECOWAS Heads of State held in Dakar in June 2016 and encourage ECOWAS to accelerate the implementation of the decisions taken until these countries find peace and stability.

10. Thank ECOWAS and UNOWAS for responding to our invitation and honoring with their presence this consultation.

11. Send a note of thanks to the Government of Togo and its people for their warm welcome and legendary hospitality.

Done in Lomé, June 29, 2016

Have signed:

Regional Networks: WAWA-Senegal, CRU-BN-Mali, FECCIWA-Togo, WAI-Cabo Verde, MFWA-Ghana, OSCAF-Benin, POSCAO-Togo, REPAOC-Senegal, REPAO-Senegal, ROFAF-Togo, SYTO-Senegal, WACSI-Ghana WAANSA-Togo, WACSOF-Nigeria WANEP-Togo, WAYN-Sierra Leone, WiLDAF-AO-Togo.

National CSOs: ALG / CACIT-Togo, FONGTO-Togo, WACSOF-Togo, MCEP / CAUT-Togo, PASYD-Togo, TANGO-Gambia, WiLDAF-Togo.

Institutes: WAI-Cabo Verde and WACSI-Ghana.

To know more about this process avaliable video here (only in French).

Source: Repaoc